Sofia Carson, a multi-talented actress and singer, has been training for extensively for the role of Evie, teen daughter of the Evil Queen (from “Snow White”) in Disney Channel’s Original movie, “Descendants.” Premiering Friday, July 31, 2015, the live-action movie, “Descendants,” is a redemptive story of sorts that follows the teenagers of Disney’s most notorious villains.
We caught up with the 22-year-old Columbian-American, Sofia, a bright bilingual singer-songwriter. She first signed to BMI in 2012 at the age of 19. Although headstrong about pursuing acting and music, Sofia’s also determined to receive her bachelor’s degree. Here’s what she has to say about pursuing dreams and degrees:
Why did you choose to play the role of Evie?
So many things. When I read the script, I was blown away by the premise of the movie and the fact that I was reading what happens to the happily ever after that we so knew and loved. It was the continuation of the fairytale right before my eyes, which was absolutely spectacular! And then, when I first met Evie I guess: when I first read the script, I loved her character from the beginning. But, I don’t think I really knew her, until I started acting her and playing her in “Descendants” and really got to know her and her story. And, that there’s so much more to her than meets the eye. ‘Cause when you meet her, she seems really straight forward. “Vain.” Boy crazy. Being her mother’s daughter, she was raised to believe that all that mattered was beauty and her reflection in the mirror. And, that she needed to fall in love with the Prince Charming to give her that happy ending. That’s all she needed to do, but she didn’t know who she was, just what she needed to do.
And, in the movie, when she kind of goes on this journey, and starts discovering herself, she realizes that her mom was so wrong. Prince Charming was not nice, was not the guy she expected him to be, and that she didn’t need him. And, what mattered to her isn’t what she looked like, or what she saw in the mirror, but she saw inside. And, that was truly beautiful. I love that story so much. It was self-discovery and realizing she is beautiful on the inside and that’s what matters! And, that’s what reflects on the outside and makes her beautiful.
Considering the constant strive for beauty in today’s standards, how can you expand that message to today’s girls?
SC: That’s why Evie’s story spoke so loudly to me. Because as a girl it’s so easy to fall into the trap of, “I wish I was prettier. Or, I was skinnier. Or, I looked like that girl on TV. Or I looked like that model in the magazine.” We all do it. And, Evie really just teaches us that’s not what’s really important. That true beauty is on the inside. It doesn’t matter what you look like in the mirror. You have to love yourself. Love your quirks; love your imperfections, because that’s what really makes you beautiful. And, as a girl, it really spoke to me and taught me a lot, especially being in this business.
As a Latina, how has this opportunity enabled you to shine as a role model, especially considering Disney, being the daughter of the Evil Queen? A princess? And, the popularity of Disney’s other show, “Violetta,” now airing on Netflix?
Yes, I did see this as opportunity to spread positive messages to Latina girls everywhere. I’m very happy to be representing Latin Americans, along with Disney shows like “Violetta,” which is great! That’s great for her to be on Netflix! Incredible! It’s beautiful! It’s amazing! “Violetta” is like a telenovela for kids! I love it! It’s dramatic! I’d love to do a guest-star! That’d be so fun! I was just doing press in Europe and she sold out 40 concerts! It’s unbelievable! She sold out shows all in Spanish.
How did you prepare for this role?
I’m been preparing for something like this my whole life. Since I was 3 years-old, I’ve been twirling around my house dressed like Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” dreaming of being a Disney princess. So, to be playing one is unbelievable. I grew up in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. So, I moved here to pursue music. After a couple of years, I was signed by WME (William Morris Endeavor) for acting. Ever since I was in dance classes since I was 3, I’ve been taking every kind of dance you can imagine; hip hop, ballet, flamenco, pointe, contemporary, and jazz. I loved it so much. I competed in Broadway jazz, hip hop, ballet, and modern.
People traveled from all over the country to nationally compete. I was part of In Motion Dance Academy in Miami. And, I took vocal lessons too: since I was a little girl. It’s been my passions since I was a child to study music and dance. I studied every form that you could think of. And, I competed all throughout high school in national competition. I was singing as well. My passion has always been to perform. I came to Los Angeles when I was 18 to go to UCLA to study communication. I love writing and journalism. I never saw myself not going to college. I want to pursue college along with pursuing music and acting. I told my parents I want my degree as a “just in case” plan, because no one can take it away.
I learned how to act during the audition process because I didn’t know how to act. I really learned while shooting this movie. I fell in love with it, while preparing for the role. By going back to the classics (“Snow White”) studying a little bit about my mom, the Evil Queen (played by Kathy Najimy, “Sister Act”). Even though she was evil, she was always kind of glamorous about it. So, I wanted to put a little bit of that elegance and glamour into Evie. Then mix in a little bit of that delicacy and femininity of Snow White. You’ll see how I tried to put a little bit of Snow While and the Evil Queen into Evie because she isn’t all bad. Kenny worked with me a lot. He would give me references like, “Think of Juliet” from “Romeo and Juliet” because Juliet’s just a girl in love with the fantasy. She doesn’t know any better. That’s why she’s supposedly evil in the beginning. But at the end of the day, she’s just a girl that’s in love with life and fantasy. And, everything is so beautiful to her. And, he also said, to think of Reese Witherspoon’s, character, Elle, from “Legally Blonde” because she’s very vain but also very smart in law and fashion merchandising like Evie, who’s good in chemistry. She didn’t need that mirror or that prince. She could save herself all by herself. I can fool you for a little while, but then I’ll show you in the end.
What was one of your favorite scenes?
It was probably the scene with Evie and Mal when they bond and talk about their parents for the first time. And Evie tells Mal that she’s found a sister in Mal. But my favorite scene of all involves the dance numbers. It was “Rotten to the Core,” the opening number. It’s just spectacular. It’s just high-energy. It’s so cool. It just makes you want to get to know the Isle of the Lost. Like, who are these characters? It’s so intriguing. I loved it!
What do you believe is the overall message of the movie?
I think that behind the fairytale, that behind the magic of movie, behind the wigs and costumes are four kids who are growing up and discovering who they are. And, struggling to fit in a school like so many others. But, beyond that struggling to decide whether they want to be their parents or choose to be themselves. It really teaches us that we all have a little bit of bad and a little bit of good in each of us, and it’s our choice to choose the bad or the good.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on my album right now in the studio, writing and collaborating with other writers. It’s rhythmic-pop and dance with a little bit of flavor. Yeah, you gotta put in those dance beats.So, hopefully, by the end of this year, I’ll be able to launch the album. I’m so excited. It’s what I’ve been dreaming for since I was a little girl and hopefully go on tour. I also just finished my second movie on Disney Channel called, “Further Adventures in Babysitting” with Sabrina Carpenter (“Girl Meets World”). It’s a remake of the original “Adventures in Babysitting (1987).” I think it’s set for a 2016 release. So, it’s a very exciting year for me. She’s also a great singer. It’s a whole brand new cast of the most incredible young actors that I’ve had the chance to work with. They’re age 14 and younger. So talented and so great! We became family and I can’t wait for the world to see them! Until then, they can see me in “Descendants!”
Disney Channel’s Descendants DVD is available beginning Friday, July 31, 2015, through www.disney.com/descendants.
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